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Emotional Support for Your Child While Parallel Parenting

by | Oct 31, 2023 | 0 comments

The term “narcissism” on this blog is used to describe a specific set of personality traits. It is not intended to be used as a professional diagnosis.

You know how hard it is trying to parallel parent with a narcissistic or difficult ex, right?

Well, your child is riding the same emotional rollercoaster.

Although they may not be directly involved in any conflict, they are not unaffected by this challenging situation.

That’s why it’s important to keep your child’s emotional well-being in mind as you parallel parent.

Supporting your child is important when it comes to addressing their emotional needs and avoiding the negative impact of having a narcissistic parent.

Children of narcissistic parents are often at the receiving end of controlling and manipulative behaviors.

But as long as they have a loving parent like you in their corner, they’ll be alright!

As that parent, however, it does take some understanding and effort to ensure that their emotional needs are met.

Let’s take a look at how you can provide emotional support to your child while parallel parenting:

What Are Your Child’s Emotional Needs?

Understanding your child’s emotional needs is the first step in giving them emotional support. Children, no matter the situation, require certain fundamental emotional elements to thrive.

They need love, stability, and a safe and nurturing environment.

Love and Affection

Your child needs to feel loved, valued, and cherished. Remind them often that they are loved by you, regardless of the circumstances.

Show them your love by spending quality time with them and engaging in activities they enjoy.

Physical affection, like cuddles and kisses, can also go a long way in making them feel secure.

Stability and Predictability

Dealing with a narcissistic parent can be chaotic, as I’m sure you know. Imagine how hectic this feels for your child!

To counteract this, it’s important to have a stable and predictable routine in your home.

Regular meal times, bedtime, and designated family time can provide a comforting structure amidst the unpredictability of the other parent’s behavior.

Safety and Security

Children need to feel safe and secure. Make sure your child has a safe space they can retreat to if they feel overwhelmed or anxious.

Talk to them about what they can do if they feel uncomfortable during visits with the narcissistic parent, such as calling you or establishing their boundaries.

Communicating With Your Child About Their Narcissistic Parent

Open and honest communication is paramount when it comes to protecting your child’s emotional well-being. Your child probably has questions, fears, or concerns about their other parent’s behavior.

Encourage your child to express their feelings and thoughts. Make it clear that it’s safe to talk to you about the situation.

When your child does open up, make sure you are actively listening without judgment. Let them express their emotions freely. Encourage them to share their experiences and feelings, no matter how difficult they may be.

It’s also crucial that you validate your child’s feelings when they express them. Even if their feelings don’t make sense or differ from your own, let them know that their emotions are valid. Reassure them that it’s okay to feel the way they do.

And when you’re talking to your child about their narcissistic parent, make sure you are sharing age-appropriate information. Tailor your explanations to your child’s age and maturity level.

Don’t expose them to the dirty details or details that may be too distressing or complex for them to understand.

Establishing a Supportive Routine

As I mentioned above, consistency and routine are important for your child’s emotional well-being.

Even if they won’t receive these things in their other parent’s home, you can make sure they have a sense of security in yours.

  • Schedules: Develop a daily and weekly schedule that includes meal times, bedtime, and quality family time. Having a set routine can offer your child a reliable framework in which they can feel safe and predict what comes next.
  • Fun Activities: Make sure to include enjoyable and age-appropriate activities in your routine. These are great opportunities for bonding and making good memories, which can counterbalance their negative experiences with their narcissistic parent.
  • Be Flexible: While routines are important, you have to be open to adjustments and changes when needed. Sometimes, flexibility can help your child manage unexpected emotional challenges more efficiently.

Building a Support System

You don’t have to navigate this difficult journey alone! It’s okay for you to reach out for emotional support as well. 

Even though you are giving your child emotional support while parallel parenting, it’s important that you recognize your thoughts and feelings as well. 

Building a support system means surrounding both you and your child with people who love and care about you. This can be friends or family members who are present in your life and can provide stability.

Let them know what you and your child are going through so they can better understand your needs.

You can also look into joining a support group for parents in similar situations. These groups are invaluable for sharing your experiences and asking questions. You’ll find people who can share their advice about coping strategies or give you some insight into your situation.

In some cases, it may be beneficial to seek professional therapy or counseling for both you and your kiddo. A mental health professional can help you both set healthy boundaries and manage the emotional impact of co-parenting with a narcissistic ex.

Encouraging Self-Expression

It’s important that you encourage your child to express themselves. This will help them learn how to manage their feelings.

You can encourage outlets for self-expression such as art, drawing, painting, or writing. Creative activities help the brain process emotions.

For older children, journalling can be an effective way to express their thoughts and emotions privately. It’s also a great way for them to sort out the way they feel.

While you should encourage an environment where your child feels comfortable talking to you, you should definitely find ways to encourage self-expression in case your child isn’t ready to open up.

Modeling Healthy Coping Strategies

Children learn by example. Even though you are struggling to co-parent with a narcissist, it’s important that you model healthy coping strategies.

You can also help your child develop healthy coping strategies by practicing them on a daily basis, such as:

  • Problem-Solving: Teach your child problem-solving skills. Help them break down problems into smaller steps. By doing so, you can empower them to tackle challenges with confidence.
  • Communication: Show your child how to communicate effectively, express their needs, and ask for help. Emphasize the importance of active listening and empathy.
  • Self-Care: Make self-care a family practice. Show your child that it’s important to take care of their own well-being. Engage in self-care activities together, such as meditation or walks outside.

Addressing Challenges Positively

When you’re trying to parallel parent with a narcissist, you are going to run into challenges. Rather than reacting negatively, focus on finding positive solutions.

Not only will this reduce stress for you in the situation, but it will help to create a calmer environment for your child.

Along with teaching your child how to solve problems, work on problem-solving together. When challenges do come up, involve your child in finding solutions.

This can be related to their narcissistic parent or any other area of their life. This empowers them and fosters a sense of control in their lives.

Teach your child the importance of resilience and encourage them to view obstacles as opportunities for growth.

Lastly, celebrate your child’s successes with positive reinforcement – no matter how small. This can boost their confidence and motivate them to continue working through difficulties.

Take a Listen:

Empowering Your Child With Emotional Support

Co-parenting with a narcissistic or toxic ex can be emotionally draining for both you and your child.

But by offering your child emotional support, you can help them face the challenges of having a narcissistic parent.

With the right tools and support, you can guide your child through these difficult times, helping them emerge stronger and more emotionally resilient!

Every child is unique – How do you support your child’s emotional needs? Let us know in the comments! ⬇️⬇️⬇️

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Let’s create a supportive community and navigate the complexities of co-parenting with strength and resilience!

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